Speed cameras live in Prairie City community

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Jamee A. Pierson, Newton Daily News, Iowa
·3 min read
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Mar. 11—The speed cameras approved for the City of Prairie City are now active throughout the community. A total of three cameras, two handheld units and one stationary trailer will be used by the Prairie City Police Department.

"Two handheld units that will be used throughout town and one stationary trailer that will be placed at the 18 mile marker of Highway 163 westbound," Prairie City Police Chief Mike German said. "The trailer should be in place by the end of March."

The handheld units will be used by police officers within the department throughout the city at any time of day or night. The areas the handheld cameras will be utilized will not be published by the department.

"We will not be publishing where the handhelds will be used as this would be far too difficult to facilitate. City staff, who would publish this information, only work Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Police Department works everyday with various hours and calls for service take precedence over speed camera activities," German said. "The location and duration of the camera use is entirely within the operating officer's discretion. Because of this, it would be far too burdensome for staff to keep this information current."

By adding the speed cameras to the department, German said it will help enhance safety for those using the city streets along with increasing police coverage without a large cost increase to the city.

"The vendor covers the salary costs for the time the cameras are in use, so we will have an additional uniformed officer available to respond to calls, if needed," German said.

According to the automated traffics enforcement language added to the Prairie City code of ordinance, the vehicle owner will be liable for the fine which ranges from $100 for 1 to 14 mph over, $200 for 15 to 19 mph and $400 for 20 mph over or more. An automated traffic citation will not be sent or reported to the Iowa Department of Transportation or similar department or any other state for the purpose of being added to the vehicle owner's driving record.

A notice of the violation will be mailed to the vehicle owner within 30 days after the police department determines a violation has occurred. A violation can be contested by submitting a form within 30 days of the first notice.

When previously discussing the speed cameras, councilwoman Ann McDonald was concerned with the citation and fine starting at 1 mph over the speed limit stated. German said the in-house rule is 10 mph or more but having the data for 1 mph or more is important.

"What that does by going under that is if we need probable cause for some other crime, OWI or some other investigation, that gives us the latitude to use that for evidence," German said.

All revenues generated will go to the city's general fund.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com